we look at the Federal Budget. I put this graph together some time ago, so data are only though 2006.
More Recent Deficits:
2007 163 billion, in the range of mid '80's Reagan numbers.
2008 455 billion, which would be just off the bottom of the chart.
Before the last few decades, the only meaningful budget deficits were the result of wars.
Note that the "massive" Federal spending of FRD's New Deal scarcely registers as a squiggle.
Fiscally responsible Republican President Eisenhower is barely distinguishable from those "tax and spend" Democrats, Kennedy and Johnson.
Nixon/Ford continued to increase deficit spending after the Viet Nam war ended.
Carter stopped the bleeding, but could not reverse the trend.
Reagan’s Star Wars program coupled with supply-side (i.e. voodoo) economics brought new record deficits.
Clinton raised taxes, increased social programs, and brought in a surplus.
Bush 2 – see for yourself.
Obama - TBD.
8/27 Update: Krugman weighs in on the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush II regime, and how the Bush legacy complicates and worsens the current situation.
Another 8/27 Update: Krugman explains, for the sake of dining room tables*, and others who are slow to comprehend.
* A Barney Frank moment